Friday, August 05, 2011

Fear and Loathing

Daniel Trilling
New Statesman
August 1, 2011.

Minutes after it emerged that the perpetrator of the atrocities in Norway on 22 July was not Muslim but white, blond and Christian, the language of the rolling news broadcasts shifted in tone. This was no longer "global terror": it was a case of "domestic extremism", arising from "local political issues". To think so would be a grave error. The ideology cited by Anders Behring Breivik is one shared by far-right movements across Europe and the US. Breivik, who has described himself as a "nationalist", hates multiculturalism, which he sees as a left-wing plot to weaken European nations, and he hates Muslims in particular.

Breivik's actions were disgusting; yet they also indicated the weakness of the far right in Norway. As we saw in Britain in the early 1980s, after a strong anti-racist movement halted the National Front's electoral progress, fascists and their fellow-travellers are more likely to choose violence when their political ambitions are frustrated. Of greater concern should be those countries where far-right movements have been sufficiently organised to enter mainstream politics. On this list are France, Sweden, the Netherlands and Hungary, among others; and very possibly Britain, too.

The parties' programmes may differ in emphasis - in Hungary, for example, the scapegoats are primarily the Roma - but they have in common a populist rhetoric that draws on mainstream anxieties about a multi-ethnic society, provoked by the economic effects of globalisation. As the free market destroys what remains of social democracy and makes national governments appear to lose control of their own affairs, a surge in nativist feeling is swelling this rising tide of the far right in Europe.

Rather than attempting to bluff their way into power - as Benito Mussolini did with his "March on Rome" - these groups are trying to sink deep roots into communities as they climb the political ladder.

Read the rest here.

Comment: Whiteness is centered on the fear of the Other.  In fact, white identity cannot exist without the fear of being overrun by the black/brown Other. 

The "one drop rule", for example, is a direct consequence of the fear of being erased.  The blood of the Other is the contaminating beast that must be corralled and controlled and destroyed if whiteness is to survive.

Hitler sought to remove the contamination and return the white race to its assumed ascendant glory.  He wanted to breed out the contamination that the father of racism, Gobineau, said was impossible.

Inherent in whiteness is also the fatalistic fall from purity.  Gobineau theorized that the white race was doomed because of race mixing even while he applauded the cultural elements gained from mixing with the lesser races.

It is hardly surprising that 600 years later the system of race and racism which was copied from the caste system in India by the likes of Gobineau would still be exhibiting the same anxieties.

Whiteness is in its historical terms a closed box or system.  It cannot be reformed or normalized.

And it is, therefore, a grave mistake to assume that the kind of racist lunacy discussed above is primarily to be found in right-wing movements or politics.

In fact, it is reasonable to argue that more black/brown lives have been severely affected and even destroyed by the kind of liberal whiteness, including its multicultural posturing, that at its essence is really no different than the more crude right-wing fear of being lost in a black/brown planet.


No comments: